SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In a game that included a 54 minute rain delay and occasional showers throughout the night WAC-leading Grand Canyon scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball in the seventh inning and held on for a 2-1 win over Sacramento State in the opener of a three-game series.
With the game tied 1-1 in the seventh, Grand Canyon (13-16, 7-0 WAC) loaded the bases with none out before heavy rain began to fall. After covering, uncovering, and resurfacing the infield, Hornet starter Justin Dillon returned to the mound and got a shallow fly out and strikeout but Grand Canyon's Garrison Schwartz would score on a passed ball with two away.
Sacramento State (14-15, 2-5 WAC) stranded runners on the corners in the bottom of the seventh. Grand Canyon got the first two outs in the bottom of the ninth before Kody Reynolds reached on a fielding error and PJ Floyd followed with a single to center. With the tying run at second base GCU made a pitching change and Mick Vorhof induced a fly out to end the game.
Dillon and Grand Canyon sophomore starter Jake Wong entered the game with the top two ERAs among all starting pitchers in the WAC and were both superb on Friday. Dillon struck out 10 batters over seven innings allowing just five hits and two runs. Wong went six innings and earned the win allowing one run on five hits with five strikeouts.
Grand Canyon took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning as Tyler Wyatt drew a one-out walk, Zach Mallis moved him to third with a double, and Quin Cotton drove him in with an infield single. Dillon struck out the next two batters to strand Mallis at third.
The Hornets got runners on the corners in both the second and third innings but did not score. Sacramento State stranded a pair again in the fifth inning but in the sixth sophomore James Outman hit a solo home run to center field to tie the game. The homer was Outman's team-leading fourth of the season.
As the rain started to pick up in the top of the seventh Schwartz drew a leadoff walk before a single by Wyatt. Malis followed with a drive into the right center gap, but base-running confusion ended up limiting him to a single to load the bases before play was halted just before 7:40 p.m.
Reliever AJ Franks came in for GCU after the rain delay and went 2.2 innings allowing just one hit but hitting two batters. Tanner Olson relieved Dillon and allowed just one hit with two strikeouts in two scoreless innings in which he threw just 16 pitches.
Both teams finished with six hits in the game. Hornet juniors Ian Dawkins and Vinny Esposito both brought long hitting streaks into the game but both were hitless, ending their streaks and 14 and nine games, respectively.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday night. The Hornets will induct five players and two teams into the Sacramento State Baseball Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony at 5:15.